With less than 50 days until Christmas, holiday decorations are on the minds of many. But before the decorations go up, health care facilities are reminded of the South Dakota Department of Health’s safety rules regarding holiday decorations:

  • Live trees are allowed, however they must be flocked with a fire retardant.
  • A staff person must be designated to water the tree.
  • Trees should be limited to one per building.
  • Live trees are allowed in buildings between the dates of Dec. 6 and Jan. 4.
  • The tree must be located in a room that can be closed off from corridors, e.g. a dining room or lounge, and closely supervised by staff.
  • The tree should be located near sprinkler heads or smoke detectors, if possible.
  • No lights are allowed on flocked or metal trees. If lighting is desired, indirect flood lights may be used. Lights may be used on UL listed plastic trees in accordance with manufacturer’s directions. Lights on trees should be unplugged at night. All lights used on trees must be UL listed.
  • The use of small trees with fiber optic lights is acceptable. Check for a UL listing mark on the device.
  • Lights may be installed on the exterior of buildings and on outside trees and shrubs. Exterior lighting circuits must have ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection.
  • Wrapping paper and plastic film is very combustible and must not be used to decorate doors and wall surfaces.
  • The use of live greens, including wreaths made of live greens, for decoration inside a building is prohibited.

For more information contact the South Dakota Office of Health Care Facilities Licensure and Certification at 605-367-5434 or email James Bailey.